Monday, February 28, 2005

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Plastic Surgery

Reading the comments over at
Dohiyi Mir got me to thinking about all things plastic surgery. How you ask? NTodd's supreme hunkiness of course. Now I will in the near future be having some reconstructive, notice I didn't say plastic, surgery. (My insurance company has graciously agreed to pay thus the word reconstructive). I will be having an overabundance of female attributes turned into just an abundance because the surgeon figured that would be the best he could do, how's that for saying I am having my boobs whacked off? (Sorry Dad). Now, I have wanted this done since I was a teenager and my back decided it wasn't fond of my front. So if there was one thing you could have done what would it be? Knowing that I have mortified my father, please folks let me see some comments!

Human Rights Abuses


The United States took aim at human rights problems in Saudi Arabia and Russia on Monday as the Bush administration sought to pressure its partners as well as its enemies to do more to curb abuses.

Need I say more?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

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Stiletto Democracy

Dowd Yes, catchy title and having grown up in the south I actually know how to walk in those damn things, own a couple of pair of them and wear them at times. And while this is a catchy title it really has nothing to do with her editorial; which is about how secretive this administration is, yet claims to work in transparency because of the American system: Democracy and a Free Press.

Yet, the closest we get to the press actually investigating this administration are bloggers on the internets, or cute catchy titled editorials in the major papers. Not one major paper is really looking into any of the possible abuses of this administration. The list is becoming so long it is mindboggling to attempt to track them all, but just in the last months: Gannon, rendition of prisoners against US and international law, Armstrong Williams, and Social Security being forced to pay for the destruction of Social Security. Yet, for the most part the press remains silent instead preferring to tell us about the jury selection process in Michael Jackson trial, or the latest talking points from the White House on Social Security piratization.

Our press is no longer free it is owned by big corporations, whose best interests are served by having the Bush boys in the White House resulting in this White House being surrounded by a veil of secrecy and we allow ourselves to be distracted by nice legs in stiletto heels. Well I know they can be distracting, I wear them but it doesn't mean people don't expect me to do my job or do it well, and I have nice legs too.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

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America's Worst Mother

TBogg has a new post up regarding AMW, no pasquin I'm not writing about either one of my sisters or myself.
Anyway, TBogg waxes on beautifully about how mother's hear the slightest "urp" from their children. He's right, what he forgets to mention and is further proof that she really is America's worst mother is that if she were a good mother, those kids would be throwing up only on her. Every time my daughters get a stomach bug, I seem to be in the vicinity of their vomit if not the direct path, in fact my 4 year old has been known to ask; "Remember that time I threw up on Mommy, no not that time the time I ate..." as though it there were mile markers in when and what has been puked on me.

His Honorable John G. Roberts Jr.

Just made the short list it seems, very little has been written about him and I am having a bit of a time finding more than one decent source of information regarding Judge Roberts. So instead of paraphrasing one article that was published 4 days ago I will just send you to it. Judge Roberts.

Read the article. My take, bad for the environment, bad for civil liberties and rights of the accused, and not a clue where he will come down on the right to privacy and abortion. As with most conservatives, people who know him and have worked with him, liberals and conservatives alike think he his a great guy and very smart.

Slightly off the topic, but am I the only person who knows enough lawyers, to know some that are real assholes and some are not that damn bright as Mr. Justice Thomas illustrates. Is it some kind of rule that you aren't allowed to say so once you go to law school?

How does one create a blog roll?

I have searched blogger and it doesn't have an answer for me. So anyone out there has a clue please leave an answer it what only appears to be the broken comments sections. Yes I will force the programmer I know to explain to be how to turn off blogger's comments sometime today. Geez, who knew that all this code could be so confusing. Okay I knew it could be so confusing but who knew it would confuse a SQL programmer?

Friday, February 25, 2005

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Coalition Against Violence

I was asked in a comments thread about our county's Coalition. It meets once a month, and is comprised of all of the local law enforcement agencies, DA's office, County Attorney's office, Crisis Intervention Team, the Rape Crisis Center, the Women's Shelter, Crime Stoppers, the sexual Assault Nurses Team, MADD, local therapists, and yes concerned citizens. What do we do: Well a lot really a fair amount of public education; for example, during the last election cycle we had public debates for all local contested elections, with the area of questioning of course focusing on violent crime, crime victims, and the community. In April, which is sexual assault awareness month, we sponsor a watch your drink campaign; where a number of volunteers go into the local bars and place a tester/coaster by all unwatched/unattended drinks to raise awareness of date rape drugs. We also sponsor quarterly day training that offer continuing education credits in different service areas such as law enforcement, social work, counseling or drug and alcohol abuse counseling. Once every year we have a two day seminar on domestic violence and sexual assault for those in the area who work in the fields. While we are not an official lobbying organization, we do pay attention to bills in the legislature currently that effect domestic violence, sexual assault, violent crime victims, and drunk driving.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

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The Honorable Michael Luttig

Michael Luttig, as mentioned in yesterday's post, has the distinct honor of hailing from the great state of Texas. Now for those of you from the other 49 states, you may think I mean this tongue in check, but if you are from Texas you will realize when I say this I mean it. Michael Luttig was born and raised in Tyler Texas which is in the eastern part of the state, near Louisiana. So +1 for being from Texas. He then left Texas to attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia, and after he graduated from there he attended the University of Virginia Law School.

After graduation he served as Judge Antonin Scalia's law clerk on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington from 1982-1983. He is widely toted as a Scalia protege. -10 for the Scalia protege connection or should it be higher?

He then was the assistant to and clerked for Mr. Chief Justice Warren Burger from 1983-1985. It was the end of Burger's career, call it a wash.

From 1985-1989 he was in private practice, and in 1989 he went to work for the Justice Department where he helped George H.W. Bush get Souter and Thomas though the Senate and on the Supreme Court. +1 for Souter, -10 for Thomas.

In 1991, he was appointed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals by George H.W. Bush. Where he is "I think there is no question that he is the most conservative judge on the most conservative court of appeals in the country" (John H. Blume professor Cornell Law School) The highlights of his decisions do show him to be conservative to very conservative. He has found portions of VAWA unconstitutional, because Congress went beyond its powers by allowing women to sue their attackers in the federal system. In 1997, He issued the ruling that the state could require parental notification prior to a minor having an abortion. In 1998, he overruled an lower court ruling and upheld the Virginia partial birth abortion ban, the Supreme Court eventually reversed Luttig. It is also said again by Blume that Luttig "has never voted in favor of a death row inmate in a capital case."

Capital Cases present or should present a dilemma for Luttig, but "He is a man who is not tortured by doubt over the correctness of his judicial philosophy" (Bruce Fein Constitutional scholar and lawyer). In 1994, Luttig's father was murdered in the driveway of his home. Three men attempted to carjack his parents car and in the process shot and killed his father, and wounded his mother. Luttig moved his office to Tyler during the trial of the men responsible for his father's death. One of the men, Beazley, was charged with Capital Murder and the death penalty was sought. To his credit in an interview with the local Tyler paper Luttig says he did not push for the death penalty. He did testify at the trial though, giving victim impact testimony. Beazley was convicted, sentenced to die and executed in 2002. Luttig said of Beazley's trial "Things being as they are, I believe Beazley received the fairest trial possible, in part because I was there." Luttig has never recused himself from a capital case, saying that he has no bias.

I don't know how to award a plus or minus to the above paragraph without discounting real lost lives. That of Michael Luttig's father, and those executed; but I do believe there is a bias. Judges are people, as are crime victims both have bias it would be foolish to expect less.

There you have Judge Michael Luttig. Who will it be tomorrow from the published short list? Who will I pick to pick on?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

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Supreme Court Vacancy Part 1

Mr. Chief Justice Rehnquist is expected to announce his retirement from the Court in the near future. This news surprises no one, and the guesses as to who will become the new Chief Justice are pretty pat as well: Mr. Justice Scalia or Mr. Justice Thomas. These are the justices that Bush has said so often he most admires and agrees with constitutionally. I don't think he will choose Mr. Justice Thomas, his record is too thin, he hasn't stood on his own enough on the Court and his original contentious confirmation hearing before the Senate will probably be enough to keep Bush from nominating him. Mr. Justice Scalia will be the more likely choice, and less controversial. Yes, there is a movement to keep Scalia from becoming Chief Justice, because of his "originalism" and through it his blatant judicial activism.
It just does not seem likely to me that it will go very far, because for all of Mr. Justice Scalia's flaws, and they are normally found in the beginning of his arguments, he is a brilliant man and a well versed with a pen. That coupled with his previous unanimous confirmation to the Court by the Senate should be enough to get him through the Senate as the Chief Justice.

Now if by some chance wild horses fly and some sense is kicked into the President's head by an errant flying equine, then we might see a Mr. Chief Justice Souter. Mr. Justice Souter was appointed by Bush's father just like Mr. Justice Thomas but has been a much more moderate voice on the Court, it would provide some balance to what is sure to be a conservative to very conservative appointment to fill the empty seat.

The real fun begins when we start trying to guess who will fill the empty seat, there have been a few lists floated for over a year now and on every list(a fellow Texan Serprize serprize)has been his honorable Michael Luttig of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. I had hoped to write about him this evening, but decided that it was necessary to play guess the Chief first.

Monday, February 21, 2005

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On the Abrams Report

Sitting in bed watching MSNBC the Abrams Report just ran a story about a 15 year old girl giving consensual oral sex to five hockey players in the locker room. The hockey players have been suspended from the elite prep school. The law in Massachusetts is that because she is 15 she is too young to consent to sex, so the police department is investigating the incident and deciding if they should pursue charges against the young men.

This really isn't what I wanted to write about but it is a good lead in, the registration of juvenile sex offenders for consensual sex. The case above isn't the best scenario, but say you have a high school sophomore dating a high school senior and they are having consensual sex. If the sophomore gets pregnant, and her parents get angry, they report sexual assault of a child to the police, who take the case to the prosecutor, who prosecutes this 17 as a minor, but he will still have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, for a consensual sex act. It seems like a high price to pay for a joint decision, and one that girls rarely have to pay. Because in all honesty how many 16 and 17 year old girls are prosecuted for having sex with 13 and 14 year old boys? It is time that states revisit mandatory registration for consensual sex offenses. Yes, we do need to protect society, but not from kids making irresponsible decisions by making them pay for the rest of their lives. It is too punitive, too harsh and in the end serves no purpose in protecting society.


I have the flu. Nasty virus it is, ravages your body with fever and the cough is horrible. That is all until the fever subsides. I wish I could say that Pasquin would post, but he is still silent. Although, he is much smarter and funnier than I am;he is also a much better writer.

Friday, February 18, 2005

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Driving across Texas

Yes, I am packing up and driving the girls across the grand state of Texas(or a third of it) and taking them to visit their grandparents for the weekend. Hopefully, I will be able to post when I get there; since my parents have a very nice computer set up, and maybe I will convince Pasquin to post as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

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Wampum needs wampum

Want the Koufax Awards back?
Paypal link here
Okay I know like 5 people read this blog, but if those 5 people donate then it will have been worth my little post.

My kiddo

A post with nothing to do about politics!
My kiddo just won 2nd place in the school science fair and is going to district!
My science fair projects as a child normally managed to let me pass science for the 6 weeks. My kid has come in 4th two years in a row and this year she managed to break into the top three. I am one very proud mom. I am sure that Pasquin is proud too. He is just too shy to say so.

Monday, February 14, 2005

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This Weekend

I sporadically read Outsourcing Torture from this months edition of The New Yorker. I know the article wasn't that long. I ought to have been able to have read it 15 to 20 minutes tops. But it was a sporadic read for me, as I kept feeling overwhelming dizzy and nauseous as I read. I kept having to put the article down,everytime thinking this isn't my country, they aren't writing about my country. Yes, it is your country they are writing about I would remind myself. I would pick the article back up only to once again put it down feeling overcome with grief for what we once were as I read of another man shipped off to Egypt to be tortured, or never heard from again. Or to read that terrorists might actually go free because of our barbaric behavior, because we cannot allow them to testify. We have violated so many laws that we cannot allow them near a court to testify against one another.

This isn't my country. This isn't my America. This is Bush's America. This is Rumsfeld's America. This is Cheney's America, and when their time in power has past I pray for the return of my America where criminals and terrorists, yes, are afforded human rights and criminal rights. Because, I promise if and when we return to my America Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumsfeld, and Mr. Cheney; I want to be certain that all your rights are afforded to you when you are held accountable for your America.

Just want to say...

I am glad that someone at the White House was getting laid;
see here and not terribly surprised that they are having to pay for it either.

As for the bigger picture of how did a gay prostitute get into the White House Press Corp? Well I guess he knew the right Dick now didn't he.

It does raise serious question about background checks and leaks though. Who know and who didn't? And couldn't you just hear the so called liberal media screaming if a Democrat were in the White House and this had been going on?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

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Dean is officially the chair of the DNC

atrios and
DailyKos have easy links up for you to donate with through Actblue and show your support. It takes awhile as the servers are a bit slow with all the traffic from the grass/netroot activists showing their support for Dr. Dean! We need to show the DNC that this is the right choice for our party, doing so with our wallets is a great way to start. It felt wonderful to send money in for something I believed in once again, not because of a tragedy, not because I hate Bush, but because I believe that Dean is the right choice to lead the Democratic Party and I believe in the Democratic Party.

Easton Jordan resigns

I still believe that this was a firestorm created in the right wing blogosphere so that they could declare yet another victory over the so called liberal media. What Easton Jordan did. He said something that might have been possibly slightly anti-american in an off the record forum. All who were there said he was either misunderstood, and that he quickly clarified or backtracked from what he was trying to say. In addition, he apologized for his remarks and for offending those that were there. What Easton Jordan did not do. He did not use his position to run unsubstantiated stories about the military targeting journalists. He did not even use it to pressure CNN anchors and reporters to imply such a thing was occurring in Iraq. He made a statement in an off the record forum and he is paying for it with his livelihood. This is America today.

My friends on the right are doing a victory dance this weekend. They yet again fail to realize that the more they call for accountability for speech they find offensive the more they endanger their own often vile speech. For eventually, those of us who call for the protection of speech will fall victim to the same kind of witch hunt as Jordan and there won't be anyone to stand up for them when they spew their hatred at the wrong person, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. It is an form of ironic justice, but one we should not wish on anyone because we will have been silenced first.

DWI checkpoints in Texas

MADD pushes for sobriety checkpoints
2/8/2005 7:06 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

The Texas chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving are putting more pressure on the Legislature this session.

The group rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to back MADD's top priority: sobriety checkpoints on Texas roads.

Bills before the House and Senate are asking to allow Texas law officers to conduct the checkpoints if they choose to.

Texas is one of the few states in the Nation that doesn't have these checkpoints. What do they do? Basically, they allow the police to put up roadblocks and do sobriety checks on everyone. The Texas Ledg attempted to pass this bill in 2003 but failed to do so, here's hoping that it fails again. Now I am no proponent of driving drunk, but the expansion of police powers and the lessening of civil liberties is always worrisome and even more so with the current political climate. The Patriot Act has eaten away at civil liberties, as has the Rehnquist Court, and the next court only promises to have an even more activist bent when it comes to destroying those liberties that we hold dear. The last thing we need is the State of Texas increasing police power right now.

I wonder if State Representative Scott Campbell, currently looking at his 2nd DWI charge, is going to vote for this bill?

Friday, February 11, 2005

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A shooting in Houston

For those of you from Texas this isn't that surprising, and it in Houston it is part of the daily news cycle I am lead to understand, but this shooting is symptomatic of a real problem in the United States. What happens when a child, most often a son, decides to stop the domestic battery in his home? Usually when it gets to this point the child is normally older, a teen-ager, and he uses deadly force. If he is lucky he won't kill the batterer, and he won't be charged for the offense he has just committed. Hopefully, the child's mother will also wake up to the damage living in such a situation is doing to her child, if not herself.

What happened early this morning:

POSTED: 6:50 am CST February 11, 2005

HOUSTON -- A 16-year-old boy was charged with shooting his father in their southwest Harris County home Friday, Local 2 reported. The shooting was originally reported as a case of domestic abuse, but deputies said the boy apparently witnessed a sexual act between his parents and thought the father was abusing the mother.

Sheriff's deputies charged the boy with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony.

Detectives told Local 2 the mother and father were engaged in consensual sex when the shooting occurred at about 3:30 a.m. inside the family's home on Mira Monte near Corta.

Investigators said the couple's 11-year-old son woke up to his mother making loud noises.

"During the course of love making, the wife was evidently being somewhat loud … loud enough to where it woke the children up," Harris County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Mike Smith told Local 2.

The boy woke his brother, who then walked into his parent's bedroom and told his father, 43-year-old Jacob Hughes, to leave his mother alone.

Officials said that is when the teen shot his father in the arm.

Detectives originally told Local 2 that the son said he fired the gun as a way of defending his mother during an argument he thought she was having with his father.

"The children interpreted the noise as their mother being in danger," Smith said. "The 11-year-old went into the room, forcibly went into the room, to protect his mother. (The child) observed his parents making love and got the 16-year-old. The 16-year-old came back in and fired the shot."

After investigating previous problems at the home, officials said there have been previous reports of abuse in the family and that father had been charged and convicted of domestic violence.
Officials said the children feared their mother was being hurt due to their father's previous convictions for abuse and that is the reason the oldest son shot his father.

Authorities said they have not determined whether the mother was screaming for help.

"That is a very important question. I can see why you are asking that. We are trying to work that out right now. We are trying to decide if it was a passionate scream or was it a cry for help," Smith said.

Hughes was transported to a hospital to be treated for his injuries. He was released late Friday morning.

Officials said the couple has been married for 20 years.

This is Texas so we charge first and ask questions later. But it is important to note that there is a history of domestic violence in this family. Also, the younger son went into the room prior to getting his older brother to help their mother. Finally a sixteen year old boy can tell the difference between a consensual sexual act, albeit a loud one, and one that is not with cries for help. The child should not have been charged prior to an investigation. Police should interview all involved and then decided if the child should be charged as a juvenile for shooting his father, perhaps even understandably if mistakenly, or if the father should be charged for an assaultive offense himself. I don't envy the mother in this situation; she will be torn between her natural tendencies to protect her children, and as she is a battered woman, the fear of her husband's violence.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

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A view from the right and a response

Well I allowed some friends of mine on the right to bait me into a discussion about Easton Jordan. First I had to find out who Easton Jordan is, thank you
Mahablog It turned into a long discussion needless to say but in the end we were caught up in how the right calls for everyone they disagree with to be fired. Easton Jordan and Ward Churchill right now, but not long ago it was Dan Rather. I then stated that I thought Brit Hume should be fired for deliberately shilling for the administration on Social Security destruction, and dissembling on FDR's intentions for Social Security on his February 3rd broadcast. They went into convulsions, of course. It isn't the same thing la la la.

Finally, I explained to them...

The point being is that people shouldn't be fired for opinions.Churchill should be protected by tenure, it was put there to protect academic freedom so that professors could have strange thoughts and opinions. It is sometimes how great things happen, it is also how we sometimes get extremists in academia. Students in higher education, are capable of learning from an extremist without being brainwashed, and being better off for it. I learned from all my professors and did not agree with all of them in fact I learned a great deal from some I agreed little with. I am the daughter of an academic, I take tenure seriously. I know why it exists and have seen why it is important first hand.

Jordan said something which he either backtracked from very quickly, realizing either one he was wrong, or two it was absolutely the wrong thing to say. But possibly because he cares about the safety of journalist in a war zone? (From what I have read) It appears at worse to have been anti-American. It isn't like he attempt to put a story on the air with no backing for it. He made an off the record comment that he backed away from about it. People don't lose their jobs for making a comment that they back away from in a closed setting one would hope? It seem like a high level of accountability to me.

The point being the more we call for firing someone because they exercise speech, the more we are hurting ourselves, and our rights to speak out freely.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

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Cash in those Treasury Bonds!

President Bush today...

Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund -- in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money -- payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They're spent on benefits and they're spent on government programs. There is no trust. We're on the ultimate pay-as-you-go system -- what goes in comes out.

Cash em in folks, and the dollar convert em to euros. The dollar is about to be worth as much as the Vice Presidency, prior to Cheney of course, a warm bucket of spit! The President seems intent on defaulting on our debts. If all that surplus we have, by law, invested in Treasury Bonds over the years is defaulted on, others who have invested in our debt buying Treasury Bonds are going to start jumping off America like the Titanic. Hell, a wise investor realizing that W intends to default on the debt the country has to its own citizens, might start running scared very soon.

Now as to the constitutionality of all of this; let's just point out that it is probably unconstitutional.

Amendement 14 Section 4
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Of course why should a little thing like the Constitution stop him, it didn't keep him from getting handed the Presidency the first time. He has been able to have two Attorney General's now who wouldn't know the Constitution if it slapped them in the face, and it just must be one of life's minor annoyances as far as he is concerned.

I'm (becoming) just wild about Harry!

I am here to state
I'm here to relate
To explain and make it plain that:
I`m just wild about Harry
and Harry's wild about me; (well he's wild about Democrats at least)

The RNC has plans to send out a 13 page document that paints Harry Reid as an obstructionist. It is a clear attempt on their part to marginalize the obvious strength he has already exhibited as the Minority Leader in the Senate. It has clearly, to use Reid's own word, chaffed him.

He responded to the assertion that W knows nothing of the RNC's plans, and wants to work with everyone....

Reid, however, was unpersuaded, saying that it was his understanding that the RNC is "controlled by George Bush."
"I want the boys at the White House, the girls at the White House, the men and women at the White House, everyone to understand, I haven't lost one wink of sleep over the attack yesterday," Reid said.
"They're not going to frighten me. You know, they call me an obstructionist -- they're destructionists."

I really am becoming just wild about Harry!

Monday, February 07, 2005

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My HTML skills

Are worse than Bush's skills with the English language. I can't link to another website and I can't figure out how to make the original comment box from blogger disappear. This is what happens when someone with next to no computer skills attempts to start a blog. I have plenty of opinions, but lack some of the necessary skills to make this program work effectively for me. At least I have copied a html for dummies file on to my computer so I can have a cheat sheet at my disposal.

I have also, enlisted the aid of my silent partner, maybe someday he will write something if I bug him enough, that you see over at the side there. He is very good with computers. He can make the links work. But do I email him everytime I need him to fix my link? No, I need to figure this crap out for myself. I know what blogger tells me I am supposed to do, and I did it exactly right, but did it work. No! But it sure looked like it worked, foiled again!

As for the comments box, well I have a couple of programmer friends, they have promised to fix it for me.

Okay whine over. I will get back to work on figuring out what the hell I am doing wrong.

Update: I managed to fix my link! Grand excitement in the Rugo household, cake for all!

Direct from Florida Social Security explained?

Bush explains Social Security today? It is a good thing breathing is an involuntary function.
From atrios

Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.
Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

If it weren't so sad, it would be well funny, or is it if it weren't so funny it would be sad? I need a Bush to English dictionary, and I am from Texas.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

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Tax cuts for the rich, no heat for the poor

Bits and pieces of the proposed Bush budget are coming out. Of course we have our permanent tax cuts. No sacrifice required from the wealthiest among us, it seems. But the poor oh yes, they will pay for this war, and the tax cuts, because someone must pay.
From the AP
According to figures obtained by the AP, Bush would slice a $600 million grant program for local police agencies to $60 million next year. Grants to local firefighters, for which Congress provided $715 million this year, would fall to $500 million.
The $2.2 billion program that provides low-income people - in large part the elderly - with home-heating aid would be cut to $2 billion. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the reduction would be "wrong-headed an inappropriate," especially with this season's jump in oil prices.

There are more cuts of course but these two are outrageous because they hurt the poor the most.

The poor are most likely to be the victims of crime statistically, cuts in aid to law enforcement hurt them as much as local police and sheriff's departments. Fewer officers on the streets means the more likely someone is to be seriously injured or die in the commission of a violent crime, because response time is raised. This is especially true in cases of domestic violence, where seconds can count. In addition, who is more likely to be working as a clerk in a 7-11? A wealthy suburbanite or a welfare to work mother doing her best to support her family. She is more likely to be the victim of a robbery that could become deadly, and need the police to respond quickly.

The problems cuts in home heating aid are pretty obvious. In the northern states it gets very cold, and to cut aid to the poor so they may have heat is reprehensible.

Tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of the poorest among us, what are we coming to. I am disgusted, truly disgusted.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

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HR 418

Let's play with judicial review shall we? The Republicans want to ban it outright in this new bill, which is up for a vote next week.

SEC. 102. WAIVER OF LAWS NECESSARY FOR IMPROVEMENT OF BARRIERS AT BORDERS.Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended to read as follows:`(c) Waiver-`
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.`
(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction--`
(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or`
(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.'.

Well now even our most consevative jurists, with the exception of maybe Thomas, will have a problem with that. We are now writing laws that attempt to circumvent Article III of the Constitution.

Mr. Chief Justice Marshall must be rolling over in his grave. Marbury v. Madison.

If an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void, does it, notwithstanding its invalidity, bind the courts and oblige them to give it effect? Or, in other words, though it be not law, does it constitute a rule as operative as if it was a law? This would be to overthrow in fact what was established in theory; and would seem, at first view, an absurdity too gross to be insisted on. It shall, however, receive a more attentive consideration. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each. So if a law be in opposition to the constitution: if both the law and the constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the constitution; or conformably to the constitution, disregarding the law: the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty. If then the courts are to regard the constitution; and the constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature; the constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply. Those then who controvert the principle that the constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the constitution, and see only the law. This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written constitutions. It would declare that an act, which, according to the principles and theory of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare, that if the legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the legislature a practical and real omnipotence with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure. That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutions--a written constitution, would of itself be sufficient, in America where written constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the construction. But the peculiar expressions of the constitution of the United States furnish additional arguments in favour of its rejection. The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the constitution. Could it be the intention of those who gave this power, to say that, in using it, the constitution should not be looked into? That a case arising under the constitution should be decided without examining the instrument under which it arises? This is too extravagant to be maintained.

It leaves you speechless doesn't it, but again isn't that the intent.
And who elected these people?

Dean and the DNC

Dean has the votes for the chair of the DNC. The response from the left is euphoric, that is my response of course. But I want to talk about the a response from the right for a minute. The Dean will drag the Democratic party to far to the left idea.
The party needs to be dragged kicking and screaming if necessary to the left!
For far too long we have allowed ourselves to be inched to the right by the Republicans, because they have told us that is what America wants. They have told America that is what they want, and currently the President is telling my generation, you don't want to retire really you want to work until you die, and a great many of them are believing it. It is time for the Democratic party to stand up and say No to this. We don't need to return to cooperate feudalism in America, it wasn't good for us in the 1900's and it won't be good for us today. The more we as Democrats have allowed ourselves to be inched to the right, the more we have allowed the freedom from want, that was fought for by our predecessors, to be chiseled away at by the Contract with America and later legislation.

Yes, children deserve healthcare, all children. This is not radical. It is an investment in our future. The democratic party needs to move left.

Yes, our elderly and disabled have a right to live free from fear of poverty and want. Social Security should not be destroyed by this administration, and that is what they are attempting to do, destroy it. The democratic party needs to call Bush on this; call it Social Insecurity..The plan to destroy you in your old age.

Yes, tax cuts are nice, but not when we are at war. We ask our soldiers to die for us. It is time to ask our citizens to sacrifice as well. This is not fun. It may not be the way to win elections, but it is honest. We cannot continue to lower taxes and fight wars. It doesn't work. If the young men and women of my generation, who haven't enlisted but support the President, or those who were too afraid to change horses in midstream are asked to sacrifice for love of country can they not do so, or are we too far gone?

We need to move left. We need to find those better angels of our nature and realize that what we are asking for is not radical and not out of step with what America wants. No American wants children to go without healthcare, no American wants to see a return of the impoverished retirement; and American's will sacrifice for their country when called on, or at least most will, when asked correctly.

Friday, February 04, 2005

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Give 'em Hell Harry!

From Harry Reid's statement as to why he and the Senate Democrats could not vote to confirm Alberto Gonzales.

Any student of history would know that the North Vietnamese said captured U.S. pilots were not protected as prisoners of war because there was no declared war. That is what happened in the Vietnam war. They kept our men in solitary confinement for months, sometimes years at a time.
I will tell my colleagues about one of our men and what that man said about his treatment by the Vietnamese:
"It's an awful thing, solitary. It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment. Having no one else to rely on, to share confidences with, to seek counsel from, you begin to doubt your judgment and your courage."
Here, I would make an editorial comment that this man knows about any other kind of treatment. He was brutally beaten, limbs broken. So he knows what he is talking about.
The man who said these words was a Navy pilot, LCDR John McCain. For John McCain and all our soldiers serving across the globe, we need to stand against torture because of what it does to us as a country, to those serving now, to the future servicemen of our country, and what it does to us as a nation.
If we fail to oppose an evil as obvious as torture -- it is an evil and it is obvious it is wrong--then as President Thomas Jefferson said, I will "tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

Well said.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

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Newsweek and Battered Immigrant Women

Battered Immigrant Women
Newsweek covers the issue of internet brides and domestic violence. They go into some length about how Nataliya Derkach sued the matching making company and her ex-husband and won. I am always glad to see a woman stand up for herself against an abusive man.

This article is troublesome though, it seems that the batterer was originally charged with attempted murder and the charges were reduced simple assault and then expunged when he completed an anger management course. All to frequently in cases of domestic violence, in every state, charges are reduced for numerous reasons. Sometimes with good cause, but in this case there was clearly a cooperative victim, what was the state of Virgina's reasoning here. What is so troubling is they expunged a batterer's record. In many states those prior convictions for domestic assault allow a prosecutor's office to enhance the next assault charge, or the third assault charge up to a felony. In expunging the record of a batterer the state of Virginia is taking that tool away from prosecutors and putting another woman at greater risk.

Also, the article mentions that there are legal options for battered woman, who are immigrants; yet it does not explain what these options are at all. The article doesn't mention that women who are here as mail order brides are eligible for U Visas through INS, as long as they cooperate with law enforcement. The article never mentions that in many states there are programs set up just to help women obtain these visas. It never mentions that law enforcement is prohibited from reporting a crime victims immigration status.

All frosting and no cake. Here is a not fancy link because well I haven't figured out how to do those pretty links yet.